In response to the June 29 letter from Don Walsh (“Free lunch”) and the political candidates who advocate free college and abolishing student debt:
Whether taxpayer-subsidized in full or in part, college education is arguably a wise investment – but only for those students who are serious about learning and who thereby fulfill their end of the contract. Investing in so-called students for whom learning is an afterthought is a different matter.
These are the freeloaders who take class slots from other qualified students who are more serious about learning. Subsidizing their de facto four-year country club memberships fosters a sense of entitlement, wastes taxpayer dollars and cheapens the baccalaureate degree.
One might also ask why college costs are so high. Is it because of administrative bloat? Frills (non-essentials)? Or, as has been alleged in the case of pharmaceutical costs, are colleges charging high tuitions simply because the funding model so enables them? But probing questions such as these are typically asked by transformational leaders. They are not the words of tinker-at-the-margins managers.
Finally, if the professors at UNLV and other state universities are capable of their stellar achievements, then as our brain trust they should be capable of identifying innovative approaches to funding higher education. Has anyone thought to ask them? And if so, are the powers-that-be willing to listen to them?